Tag Archives: SEO Analyst Montreal

Improve Your URLs for Better SEO

19 May

• Include a few important keywords in your URLs.

A keyword-infused URL can:

 Help visitors see that the page they’re on is really what they’re looking for. Would you rather seeexample.com/blog/219058 or example.com/blog/cute-puppies? People will see your URL in search results, at the top of their web browser while they’re on your page, and any place where they may save the URL for themselves – like in bookmarks, or an email.

Give search engines one more indication of what your page is about, and what queries it should rank for. A URL without keywords won’t hurt you, but it’s a missed opportunity. A competitor who’s placed relevant keywords in his URLs may rank higher than you for those keywords.

“If you have got a three, four or five words in your URL, that can be perfectly normal. As it gets a little longer, then it starts to look a little worse. Now, our algorithms typically will just weight those words less and just not give you as much credit.” –Matt Cutts of Google

• Keep your URLs to fewer than 115 characters.

 Research shows that people click on short URLs in search results twice as often as long ones. Shorter URLs are also easier to share on social sites like Twitter and StumbleUpon.

 Long URLs can look like spam. As the URL gets longer, the ranking weight given to each word in the URL gets spread thin, and becomes less valuable for any specific word.

You can manually check the character count of all your URLs to make sure they’re not too long. TheAboutUs Site Report can do it automatically, and point out any URLs that are longer than 115 characters.

• Don’t use more than a few query parameters in your URLs.

In a URL, a ? or & indicates that a parameter (like id=1234) will follow.

Here’s an example of an okay URL (the kind you use to track your marketing in Google Analytics with 1 query parameter: http://www.example.com/page?source=facebook

Bad URL with too many query parameters: http://www.example.com/product?id=1234567&foo=abc123def&color=yellow&sort=price

Too many query parameters can cause search engine robots to enter a loop and keep crawling the same pages over and over again. You could end up with search engines failing to index some of your most important pages.

• Use hyphens instead of underscores in your URLs.

Search engines see underscores as a character. This means that your keywords will be seen as a single long keyword, and you’ll lose any SEO benefit they could have incurred. A hyphen, however, is seen as a space that separates words. Hyphens are better for SEO because they allow search engines to interpret your web page as relevant for more keyword phrases. That said, Wikipedia’s links have underscores, and they seem to be doing okay in search results 🙂

Also, people can’t see underscores in a URL when the link is underlined, as many links on the Web are. So hyphens are friendlier for people, and make your site more usable.

So… example.com/adorable-kitten-pics is better than example.com/adorable_kitten_pics

• Keep all of your important content less than 3 subfolders deep.

A subfolder is a folder that is visible in a URL between two slashes. For example, in http://www.example.com/articles/name-of-page, articles is a subfolder and name-of-page is an article in that subfolder.

When it comes to subfolders, search engines assume that content living many folders away from the root domain (like example.com) is less important. So it’s best to organize all of your important content so each URL has no more than two subfolders.

Here’s another way to think about it: Make sure your URLs have 3 or fewer slashes (/) after the domain name. Here is an example URL that is a web page that is two subfolders deep: http://www.example.com/articles/foo/page-name.htm

Bonus: Using subfolders allows you to use “content drilldown” in Google Analytics to easily view data for all the pages in a given subfolder.

• Don’t have too many subdomains.

A subdomain, or directory, is something that comes before the domain name in a URL. For example: http://blog.example.com. Technically speaking, www. is actually a subdomain.

Too many subdomains can cause problems for search engine optimization. For more information, read Multiple Subdomains: Classic SEO Mistake.

How to Change Your URLs

Ideally, you’d set up a search-friendly URL structure when you first create your website. Then it just works for you without having to lift another finger.

8 Steps to Optimize Your Blog Post

18 May

If you’re writing and publishing blog posts, but not putting in the few extra steps to optimize and align them with an overall keyword strategy, then you’re not leveraging the full potential of that content and you’re not making your website pages visible and highlighted for the search engines.

Blog Optimizing: Back to the Basics

SEO Back to Basics

Content is a form of online currency that is crucial to any business’ online marketing. With consumers relying on search engines for product research and reviews, content is key for ranking among those search results because search engines largely determine the quality and relevancy of the Internet’s countless web pages by looking at the text on those pages.

Just having content, even great content, on your company’s website isn’t enough to grab the attention of search engines. Businesses must leverage this content using search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. Maintaining a corporate blog is a good SEO tactic that allows for rapid content creation without the constraints of website architecture and web development teams.

Here’s how you can optimize your blog post in eight steps.

1. Find a Compelling Subject

One method for differentiating your content from all the other writing available across the web is to offer a fresh perspective and a unique angle on a given subject matter. If you haven’t spent time working through this step, don’t bother with the rest of the optimization process.

2. Conduct Keyword Research

This step is the perfect litmus test for determining whether your blog post topic is aligned with what people are looking for. When developing your focused keyword list around the blog post topic, make sure to do a sanity check and confirm that consumers are actually using these keywords to search for your product/service.

Save yourself time in the long run and filter out visitors who are unlikely to buy your product by ensuring your keywords align with the purchasing intent of your target audience.

3. Select Keywords

In order to rank high for a given keyword phrase, it’s important that you only designate up to two to three keywords per website page. Limit your blog post to one primary keyword, as well as two or three variations of that keyword (e.g. optimize blog post, optimize blog, blog post optimize, blog optimize).

4. Track Keyword Ranking Trends

Make sure your focus keyword is worth optimizing for. If there are only 10 searches for a given keyword per month, it might not be worth your while.

Look at how your target keyword phrase is trending, in terms of global monthly searches, how competitive the search term is, and whether any of your competitors or one of your pages are already ranking for it.

5. Optimize the Page

Page optimization is crucial for boosting the visibility of your blog post for the search engines. After you create the content, insert your keyword phrase throughout the blog post in specific locations where the search engines will be looking for information about your page (i.e. URL, title tag, H1, H2, emphasized text in the body of the post, alt tags on images).

From here on out, every time you mention this specific keyword phrase on your website, use an internal link to its corresponding blog page. There are also available SEO plugins for certain blog platforms, like WordPress’ popular  “All in One SEO Pack,” to help you control these SEO elements.

6. Syndicate via Social Channels

Syndicate your blog post externally by sharing it across your social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, post comments with your blog post link on relevant, external articles to attract clicks through to your site.

Make sure to use the blog post’s target keywords in your syndication via tweets and Facebook status updates. Help your audience share your content as quickly and easily as possible by including social sharing buttons on your blog post pages like the tweet, Facebook Like, LinkedIn Share, and AddThis buttons.

Consider adding Facebook’s new comments plugin to drive engagement and sharing. Also, make your content available via RSS feed, so subscribers can regularly view your latest content on their news reader of choice.

7. Find Top Links

Inbound links are essential for boosting the search engine rank of a website page. A handful of relevant links will help you better rank. Use a link suggestion tool to help identify and track high-quality, relevant websites that you can reach out to with your blog post and request a link back to your page.

8. Track Keyword Performance

Monitor your blog post on a regular basis, in terms of rank, visits, and leads from its given keyword phrase over time. By checking back on your progress, you can understand what about your content is resonating with your audience and what to improve upon. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t, then repeat the successful tactics with your next piece of content.

Summary

SEO is a gradual process, but by just setting aside an hour a week, you can make a lot of progress over time.

While many view paid search as a quick and easy way to drive traffic without a large time investment, once you switch it off, you lose that traffic. SEO, on the other hand, when done well, can have a long-lasting, sustainable impact for your website.

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